As marketers, we love control. But control was a heck of a lot easier to come by back before digital media enabled consumers to call their own shots. As sharing elements of control between marketer and consumer is now our reality, marketing effectively to today’s shopper calls for a thoughtful digital-first strategy in order to drive conversions.
Control Over the Elements
Your shopper, your message, your network. The online and mobile platforms that we all deploy to engage customers and prospects alike are our own “private digital networks.” These networks can be programmed exactly as we like, controlling our own content, channels, messages and measurement. They are focused on new, loyal and existing shoppers in order to ensure a continuous flow of opportunity. With the vast majority of purchases still executed on premise, optimizing the private digital network to drive shoppers to a physical retail experience is crucial, and the time to embrace it is now.
Context is Key to Control
Communicating in a world of constant, consistent and continuing clutter is difficult. Placing your brand message on a social media site designed for another purpose, or attaching it to the browser of an online looker to be viewed endlessly on the tops and sides of everywhere we traverse on the Internet is no way to communicate; in fact, it is often contextually jarring. We instinctively know this in the world of traditional media, but the world of digital and social networks have all been so appealing because of their sheer vastness. You’re not optimizing your network if you aren’t accurately targeting your audience and appropriately placing your messages.
The digital channels we deploy, often statistically significant in their representation of our key target audiences, contain the code for success moving into the future. Understanding where your shoppers come from digitally, what they do while engaging with you, and where they go afterwards are just the table stakes. Capturing all this in real time, and comparing it with what you can learn about others like them, ensures that you’re communicating with the greatest percentage of those that may be interested in what you’re saying while doing it in a way that ensures the least amount of interference and spend.
Fundamental Advantages of Private Digital Networks
Digital marketing on your own private network, and the continued building of an audience that utilizes this mode of communication, is a virtuous cycle. A digital ad directs the shopper to exactly what you want them to see and how you want them to see it, without all your competitors hanging around to draft on your spending, and without Google trying to pick your shoppers off and give them basic information they’re seeking before you even get to engage them. Think about how you use the web or your smartphone after you see or hear an ad in another medium: are you actually typing in a full URL or telling Siri to look up a site you want?
Why Relinquish Control to Someone Else?
Other digital channels, many of them offshoots of traditional media, are more than happy to take your money. They can target and deliver impressions, but there’s no way for you to control all the levers and optimize the buy. Your private digital network is comprised of platforms, content, promotions and data – all the ways we have to interact with shoppers, and them with us – all under your command. Your network provides shoppers the content they need to be inspired, to interact and respond and then be driven to a retail purchase, delivering incentives along the way, and constantly measuring, for yourself, what is and is not working. This is the future of retail audience building. Everything you need to control your engagement with shoppers is within your reach. Your customers are too valuable to trust to anyone else.